Aerial photograph of Cape Byron.
Aerial photograph of Cape Byron. Patrick Gorbunovs

INTERACTIVE: Census 2016 snapshot of the Northern Rivers

NEW national data has captured a snapshot Northern Rivers as a middle-aged community of non-believers growing at a steady rate.

The snapshot was shaped by 2016 Census data released today from the Ballina, Byron, Lismore, Kyogle and Richmond Valley Local Government Areas.

A combined total population of the LGAs was 148,228 - an increase of about 3% since the 2011 Census.

The latest population figures reveal our region makes up about 2% of the state population of 7, 480,228.

While numbers on the North Coast continued to grow at a consistent rate, figures suggest we weren't getting any younger with the median age sitting in the mid to late 40s.

Kyogle's median age tipped 50 while Lismore had the youngest median age of 43.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities made up less than 5% of the region's LGAs with Byron Shire the lowest at 1.8%.

The dominant cultural make up of the North Coast paralleled the state with most of our residents identifying as either Australian or English decent with about 10% who noted Irish ancestry.

But our residents have bucked the religious beliefs usually associated with English and Irish cultures with the majority described as 'no religion'.

More than half of Byron Shire residents labelled their religious affiliations as 'no religion or 'not stated'.

Down south in Ballina Shire, a heartland of Catholics and Anglicans live in the region with about 41% aligning with those beliefs.

Households raking in a weekly, gross income of less than $650 was higher than the national average.

The highest of the LGAs was Kyogle with 35.2% while Ballina was the closest to the average at 23.6%.

Nearly 50% of Kyogle residents owned their house outright with a mere 22.5% renting.

It's a different story on the coast in the Byron Shire with 30.85% renting a property while 36.5% owned their home without a mortgage.

High numbers of renters were recorded at Lismore, 28.9% and Ballina, 28%.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics said there were 23,717,421 people in Australia on Census night, which included 23,401,892 people who usually live in Australia - an 8.8 per cent increase from 2011.

More than 600,000 Australians were travelling overseas.